Monday, July 21, 2014

Alexandria: Reflections on Arlington and Girls Nation

With just one full day of Girls Nation under our belts, we have learned and experienced many military service related practices and ceremonies. From last night’s poppy ceremony, to the time we will spend with veterans in the following days, as Girls Nation senators we are encouraged to honor veterans in our own ways, here in DC and at home.

The trip to The Arlington National Cemetery was a moving, and humbling experience. Girls Nation, as part of the American Legion Auxiliary, focuses on honoring those who have served our country, through remembrance and service. We found one the most awe inspiring moments was the opportunity we had to lay handmade paper poppy corsages on the grave of a solider of our choosing. From soldier’s plots, to larger family markers, 98 girls honored over 98 amazing heroes. This idea was carried over from the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. One of our own Alexandria community members was given the honor of participating in the ceremony itself, placing a wreath that had been decorated by the Girls Nation senators the night before. Both this special ceremony and the Changing of the Guard were powerful reminders of the price of our freedom.

As our day continued on, and Senate began, we began to select leaders and discuss legislation that will shape the nation we form in this coming week. Senators have started speaking out, campaigning for elected positions and participating in Senate sessions. The Community of Alexandria has found that as we begin to voice our opinions, our diversity is just as uniting as what we have in common, and we hope the experiences we have will continue to prove this over and over again. This week we hope to make friendships that will change our lives in a positive way and that will empower us to be powerful and world changing women. We are gathered for just one week, but we are learning skills that will help shape the rest of our future. We thank the amazing women of our community, the state American Legion Auxiliary units, and the national American Legion Auxiliary for this investment in our lives, and we promise to do our very best to be the biggest dividend you will ever get back.

Alex Brock, TX and Maggie Guetersloh, NM

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